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Civic/Social Literacy

What is Civic Literacy?

From the Youth Urban Agenda/Civic Literacy Project at Wayne State University: "The knowledge of how to actively participate and initiate change in your community and the greater society. It is the foundation by which a democratic society functions: Citizen Power as a check and as a means to create avenues for peaceful change."

From Concordia University, Nebraska: "While civic responsibility is minimally understood as the act of fulfilling duties such as serving on a jury, paying taxes, and obeying laws, civic literacy can be defined in two parts. First, students must understand the role and operation of local, state and national governments. The second component of civic literacy is active participation in civic processes, including elections."

From the Partnership for 21st Century Learning:

  • Participating effectively in civic life through knowing how to stay informed and understanding governmental processes
  • Exercising the rights and obligations of citizenship at local, state, national and global levels
  • Understanding the local and global implications of civic decisions

GenerationNation says that those literate in civics:

  • Know first-hand how their governments and communities work
  • Understand civic issues and different points of view
  • Can intelligently use news and information
  • Are ready to take an active role in civic problem-solving
  • Build social capital and join a diverse network of young civic leaders


Program Ideas

Speed Repping: Much like speed dating, Speed Repping provides community members a few minutes to sit down with their representatives in a one-on-one setting and ask them questions about who they are, what they do, or just voice concerns. See how it worked at

Civic Literacy Resources Online


The Division of Library Development supports Civic/Social Literacy so that Connecticut citizens will have the knowledge and skills they need to improve their lives, participate and contribute effectively in their communities, and connect with one another through dialogue.

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